C  E  N  T  E  N  N  I  A  L    P  R  O  F  I  L  E  S  

 Lay Faculty

Selected Profiles

By Sister Martha Counihan, OSU, College Archivist

Dr. John J. Schuler: A history professor at CNR from 1909-1932, Dr. John Schuler was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States as a child. He was ordained a pastor in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1892. He received a M.A. from Johns Hopkins, and in 1908, a PhD from Columbia. Like many CNR professors, he “moonlighted,” teaching at CCNY, Fordham, Good Counsel as well at CNR at various times. He became a Catholic under the influence of Mother Ignatius.

Dr. Henri Martin Barzun: A French teacher at CNR from 1924-1938, but also famous in his own right (his son is Jacques Barzun), Dr. Barzun was born in France, where his youthful scholarly associations put him in close contact with the earliest trends in modernist poetry, art, and music in the 20th Century. He contributed to the early Dada movement through his poetry and was a friend of and collaborator with early French cubists. At CNR, Barzun taught a famous course in choric poetry (all classes were in French).

Edna Meyer Ostertag: Miss Meyer began teaching Physical Education at CNR in 1919 and stayed 29 years. A NYU graduate, she organized the famous inter-class sports “Meets” in the 1920s and 1930s between the “Odds” and “Evens” (graduation years). She oversaw the construction of the 1932 Sports Building, began offering a selection of sports to students, took students on ski weekends and escorted groups to Europe, and encouraged and participated in many sports. She “grew up with the College,” stated her loyal students (she probably taught every CNR student during her 29 years). “Hold your chin up, do not sag, be like Mrs. Ostertag,” wrote a CNR senior in 1937.

Dr. John F. Condon: Professor of Education & Marshall of the College from 1925 until 1932, Dr. Condon became well known as “Jafsie,” the “go-between” in the famous 1932 kidnapping case of the son of Anne & Charles Lindbergh.

Dr. James McBride: As a chemistry teacher at CNR for 45 years, Dr. McBride took a great interest in his students, allowing the best students to use the laboratory for their own research. A great outdoorsman, he married an alumna, Gwenillian Vaughn-Rhys, Class of ’49, and retired to Montana.

Dr. Anna T. Sheedy: A graduate of Smith, (Phi Beta Kappa), Dr. Sheedy received a degree in law from Fordham and an M.A. and doctorate from Columbia. Dr. Sheedy was famous for her freshman survey course in Western Civilization, and many of the alumnae from the 1920s to 1960s can still recite the list of English monarchs she made them memorize. Dr. Sheedy memorized the faces of her students and could call them by name after a week of classes, or after 30 years. CNR awarded her an honorary degree in 1979.

Senora Maria Flores Becerra: A native of Ecuador, Maria Flores Becerra came to CNR in the 1920s and retired in 1963. Called simply “Senora” on campus, she taught Spanish language, literature, and culture. As moderator of the Spanish Club, El Centro Hispano, she introduced students to Spanish and Latin American meals, music, drama, and art.

Arthur Hussey: Coming to CNR as a part-time professor in the 1920s to teach Physics, Arthur Hussey stayed over 40 years. Deeply interested in American history, he spent his non-teaching time traveling by car across America and taking photographs of our country, which he later donated to CNR. He was the first recipient of the John XIII medal, awarded to outstanding laymen.

Ernest Thorne Thompson and Florence Thompson: Both graduates of the New England School of Art, the Thompsons came to CNR in 1929 & 1930, respectively, from Notre Dame University where they established the University’s Art Department. Mr. Thompson’s early specialty was print-making, though later he became an expert in watercolor. Mrs. Thompson taught design, interior design, illustration, and jewelry/enameling. Responsible for establishing CNR’s Art Department, the Thompson were beloved by the students until they retirement in 1967. Artist-alumnae from the years of the Thompsons presence still attribute their own artistic interests and development to this remarkable couple. They were awarded honorary doctorates from CNR in 1980.

Dr. Mary Dora Rogick: A fixture in the Biology Department from 1935 until her untimely death in 1965, Dr. Rogick was an internationally known expert on bryozoa, a marine “lower animal,” and species was named after her. Dr. Rogick spent many summers doing research at Woods Hole in Massachusetts and at her home in New Rochelle. A shy person, she had a whimsical gift of drawing which she used to illustrate lectures and her correspondence. Rogick Hall at CNR is named in her honor.

Dr. Dorothy Hufman: A professor in the small German Department from the 1930s-1970s, Dr. Hufman was a dynamic and cultured woman. Her students received a fine education, and many went into secondary and college teaching.

Dr. James Eagan: Though he was only a member of the College’s History Department for eight years from 1937 through 1944, Dr. Eagan made quite an impact on his students. Through his lectures and discussion groups and in the Peace Group he began on campus, he urged students to look at the social and political bases of racism and militarism. At the start of World War II, he was assigned as a field director for the American Red Cross. Further bringing the war home for CNR students, he was sent to Germany at the end of the war as a religious affairs officer for the US military and kept in touch with CNR, acknowledging the many gift packages CNR students sent to orphaned and displaced German children. His letters to Mother Thomas Aquinas (Dean) were posted on the College Bulletin and gave CNR students, faculty, and staff a look at their own efforts in re-building war-torn Europe.

Dr. Allys Dwyer Vergara: A graduate of the Class of 1924,  Dr. Vergara began a career on stage, both on Broadway and on the road before returning to teach at her alma mater in 1934, where she remained for 40 years. Making a fashionable appearance on campus, famous for her hats, she had a rich-speaking voice and was instrumental, with Mother Margaret, in beginning the Speech segment of the English Department. CNR graduates from this department went into theater, radio, television, and speech-correction careers. Later Dr. Vergara and her husband, George (a former mayor of the City of New Rochelle), were instrumental in bringing the first Mexicans to live in New Rochelle. Very civic-minded, she was active as an observer at the UN, AAUW, and many other organizations. Dr. Vergara was awarded CNR’s John XXII Medal, the Angela Merici Medal, and was honored at the annual Trustees’ Dinner Dance in 1981.

Joseph Scully: An Ethics professor from 1930 until retirement in 1972, Mr. Scully was such a popular teacher that the Dean implored the War Department in 1943 to release him back to the College. However, Joseph Scully was so successful with recruits that her request was refused. When young, modern philosophers joined the Philosophy Department in the 1950s he wrote to the President of CNR: “The young men in the department belong to our strange world—that is ever new and ever old. We must realize the philosophical difficulties in the modern world must be faced and solved by the younger men as they grow old in their milieu. The 21 century is not far distant. Their viewpoints are important; their approaches likewise are important.”

Dr. Louis Kacmarynski: Well ahead of his time Dr.”Kac” headed the Business Department from 1937 to 1972, preparing women students to enter the business world at a time when few positions in business were open to women. In 1952, he chaired the first lay faculty committee, which wrote the first faculty handbook in which he carefully described the needs for salary up-grades and retirement planning. Married to Dr. Catherine Haage, Professor of Education and later Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. “Kac” was father of alumna Katherine Louise, Class of ’61, and chaired the Fathers’ Club for many years.

Dr. Josephine Vallerie: A graduate of the Class of ’27, Dr. Vallerie was a dedicated teacher of French who instilled in her students correct pronunciation, appreciation and knowledge of French literature and culture during her 40 years at the College. She traveled frequently to France and studied at a number of French universities. Responsible for starting a junior year abroad for CNR French students, in 1960 she was awarded the Cross of the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques by the French government for contribution to French culture. A number of her French graduates won grants and scholarships to major United States universities.


College Archivist, Sister Martha Counihan, OSU has deep roots here at CNR. Her grandmother and great-aunt were graduates of CNR in 1911. Her mother, several aunts and cousins, are also alumnae. Sr. Martha herself is a graduate of CNR, Class of 1967; she has a master’s degree in Art History from the University of Delaware and did her thesis on the architectural history of Leland Castle, which led her back to CNR as Archivist in 1976. Several years after receiving her M.S. in Library Service from Columbia University, Sr. Martha went to Latin America and engaged in pastoral ministry there. She returned to the United States in 1993 and served as a chaplain in the NYC area. In 2001, Sr. Martha returned to CNR as Archivist and Special Collections Librarian.


O F F I C E  O F  C O M M U N I C A T I O N S
29 Castle Place, New Rochelle, NY 10805



( c  )   T H E  C O L L E G E  O F  N E W  R O C H E L L E ,  2 0 0 4 .